Viral Infections in a pregnant woman affect baby’s health- Research says

Viral Infections in a pregnant woman affect baby’s health- Research says

A recent study from eNuro, says that viral infection in pregnant mothers may affect the baby. The researchers from the University of Saskatchewan (USask), are keen to understand the relation between mother’s and child’s health.

Viral diseases can interrupt anyone’s functioning in daily life. For pregnant women, the risk is a lot more. The inflammation during pregnancy may leave a long-term effect on baby’s health. Infections like flu may also sometimes end at early labor and delivery.

Recent advancements in research explain the possible outcomes of viral infections during pregnancy. It suggests that the baby whose mother experienced a viral disease during pregnancy is more likely to suffer from mental illness in later years.

How does the immune system respond during pregnancy?

The team of researchers led by Professor John Howland is working behavioral studies using rat model. As a part of this experiment, the pregnant rats were treated with Immunostimulants and study the offspring for any possible development.

They observed an abnormal function of the brain by using the Maternal Immune Activation model during the adult years. Howland, from the college of medicine, believes that inflammation may cause multiple complications including the abnormality in brain function. It may also cause Autism as well as schizophrenia in the newborns when they grow up.

Brittney Leins, a lead researcher of this study says that this experiment is significant in a way that it predicts possible mental health concerns of the baby. These study results are inconsistency with human models.

When exposed to viral infections, the baby in pregnant rat’s womb showed developmental changes. The complete analysis of the newborn rat shows memory impairment, fear response, and other cognitive power failures.

All these abnormal rat pregnancies gave birth to the offspring that seem to be less friendly and social. With comparison to otherwise normal rats, this difference was distinct and rare.

Precautionary measures against viral infections are necessary

Viral infections like cold and flu can transmit quite easily. Anyone can come in contact with the virus without even realizing it. Unfortunately, there is no treatment for these infections. However, it is possible to prevent the


Pregnancy is a developmental phase and it increases the sensitivity of a woman. This is the reason that a pregnant woman is at a higher risk of health complications, as doctors warn.

It is better to be careful beforehand and take all the necessary steps to prevent viral infections. However, if still, the infection prevails, it is necessary to see a doctor as soon as possible.

The usual treatment of viral diseases is antiviral medicines. But these medicines can only control the symptom and do not kill the virus completely. Considering the long-term complications of viral diseases, the vaccine for flu is completely free for pregnant women under the National Immunisation Program.

This research on the behavioral changes to predict mental health of an offspring born from an infected mother promotes health awareness. It shows that even a slight activation of the immune system due to a pathogen can cause lifelong challenges in children. For the future, this mental impairment may develop into complications like schizophrenia and autism.


The author is a Medical Microbiologist and healthcare writer. She is a post-graduate of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. She covers all content on health and wellness including weight loss, nutrition, and general health. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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